Troops face 'security and safety' risks after GOP senator supported taking funds for wall


With the help of Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Arizona troops will continue working in unsafe conditions.

The Army asked Congress for funding to make working conditions safe for troops stationed at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, but Donald Trump — with the blessing of Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) — will now use that money for a border wall, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

In 2017, the Army told Congress that vehicle maintenance facilities at Fort Huachuca that were built in the 1930s and 1940s are not up to code and that military personnel are working in "unsafe" facilities that "jeopardize personnel health, security and safety."

In response to the request from the Army, Congress budgeted $30 million for Fort Huachuca to address the issue. In 2017, McSally (who was a member of the House) praised the funding as "critical," noting that "Southern Arizona is home to defense assets that are vital to our national security."

Then, in 2019, McSally turned her back on troops serving in her state, voting to allow Trump to take money from Fort Huachuca military families, and others around the world, to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The whole affair started after Congress rejected Trump's demand for billions of dollars for a border wall. As a result, Trump in February announced a so-called "national emergency" at the southern border and then claimed such a declaration gave him the authority to take money from military projects to use them for a border wall. (During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for the wall, a promise Trump never kept.)

Congress had the opportunity to deny Trump this authority, but McSally voted to give Trump free rein to raid all the military projects he wanted in order to build a border wall. Before the vote, McSally assured constituents that Arizona military bases would not be impacted, but that turned out to be false.

As a result, the military women and men at Fort Huachuca will have to continue working in unsafe conditions. Children at Andrews Air Force Base are forced to go without a new child care facility, even though the current location regularly has sewage backups. And troops at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune will continue to receive medical and dental care in "substandard, inefficient" facilities, according to the Post.

"Martha McSally is standing with her party and selling out Arizonans, jeopardizing our state's military assets, our national military readiness, and the safety of Arizona service members," Brad Bainum, spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party, said in a statement.

McSally's likely 2020 opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly, lambasted her when news broke that Fort Huachuca would lose $30 million for much-needed improvements.

"Senator McSally has failed her most basic responsibility to put Arizona first, and Fort Huachuca and our national security are suffering the consequences of her political maneuvering," Kelly said in a Sept. 4 statement. "Senator McSally told Arizonans she had protected funding for Arizona military bases, and the fact is that she didn't keep her word."

Rather than Mexico paying for a border wall, McSally voted to let Trump raid funds from a military base in her own state — a decision that leaves military personnel working in unsafe conditions.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.